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Five Reasons to Give BLUEcloud Course Lists a Try in 2024

Author // Janah Shumaker Friday, 05 January 2024

Happy New Year! At the start of a brand new year, many people begin by making New Year’s resolutions. According to Forbes Health, some of the top resolutions people will be making in 2024 are

  • to get fit 
  • improve finances 
  • improve mental health 
  • lose weight
  • improve diet

Other common resolutions to make for 2024 will include learning a new skill, improving work-life balance, and performing better at work. If being more efficient and organized is at the top of the list of things for you to improve in the new year, consider BLUEcloud Course Lists as a helpful tool to accomplish these goals. BLUEcloud Course Lists is a resource list management tool that can be used to create lists of instructional materials relevant to what students are studying. Lists can include library resources, educator-vetted materials, and quality digital resources. Taking a few minutes to organize valuable information in helpful online lists can help save time and effort throughout the school year. Here are five reasons why 2024 is the right time to try BLUEcloud Course Lists:

  1. Get Organized

As the calendar flips to a new year, many people decide to turn over a new leaf and improve some area of their lives. For many, getting organized is a longstanding challenge. Librarians deal with large amounts of information every day. Because of this, over the years “stuff” can start to pile up—reading recommendations, lesson ideas, research topics, teacher and student requests, conference papers, meeting notes, and so much more. Whether you are the type to organize information into folders, shove it in a drawer, or leave it sitting out as a reminder, with BLUEcloud Course Lists, materials and online content can be organized into one spot by topic, putting similar information together, all with a few clicks of a mouse. Share lists with students and staff, or save for personal use. Do away with the paper lists and an abundance of browser bookmarks. 

Another helpful feature of BLUEcloud Course Lists is the bookmarklet. With this tool, an online resource can be saved to a list, revisited at a later date, and reviewed for usefulness. If organization is on your mind in 2024, take some time to give BLUEcloud Course Lists a try. 

  1. Spotlight the Library Collection

While students and staff make use of many resources in the library, some parts of the collection may not get the attention they deserve. The information is useful, and aligned with the curriculum, but the right audience hasn’t stumbled upon it yet. The new year is an opportunity to highlight underused materials. Whether the resources are physical items in the library or digital resources linked from the library’s webpage, BLUEcloud Course Lists can be used to create a virtual list that can be emailed, linked, and displayed in a Learning Management System (LMS) or on a webpage. 

If you are unsure of what might be a good starting point, run a Shelf List report to see what library materials haven’t circulated recently. Library vendors like Follett or Mackin have collection development services where the library collection can be uploaded for a virtual analysis that provides even more specific details. When running a report in INFOhio’s WorkFlows product, including the creation date of items can help to show how long the item has been in the library. Circulation information is also helpful to include as well. 

Once data has been collected, highlight a topic or subject, and encourage students and staff to take a look. Your efforts will surely draw students and staff to those overlooked or forgotten resources. In the example below, a report reveals a number of audiobooks that have never been checked out. A BLUEcloud Course List was created to promote these items to students and teachers who might be interested in listening to an audiobook. The Course List can be sent in a variety of ways to promote these titles. Those interested in listening to a title on the list can access Fetch or ISearch, find where to locate the item in the library, and check the item out. 

  1. Reach Out In New Ways

 Interacting with students and staff about library materials and library opportunities is important. Getting the word out about resources available in the library is an ongoing task. If traditional methods don’t seem to be producing the same or more engagement, why not try something new? Because BLUEcloud Course Lists can be shared using a URL, lists can be linked in a wide variety of ways and places. Now librarian-created lists can be posted on Learning Management System (LMS) pages, in emails, on social media, and on websites, just to name a few. This may open new doors for communication. Take advantage of the opportunity to get librarian vetted and created resource lists into the hands of students and staff who will benefit most from the information provided.

To ring in the new year and the second half of the school year, welcome students back after the break with a message in your LMS or library newsletter linking students, their families, and teachers to a Course List that you’ve created. Use the URL in the browser’s search bar to link the list.

  1.  Support Student Research and Inquiry

Research is a skill even the youngest of learners need to be familiar with and build upon as they learn and grow. Helping to foster meaningful connections to their learning, research, and inquiry projects can lay the foundation for the knowledge they need. Creating lists of instructional materials in BLUEcloud Course Lists can provide high-quality, vetted content from which students can gather information. This ensures all students have access to appropriate instructional materials used within a structured research or inquiry project. Encourage students to use materials the educator has curated to make connections and grow in their knowledge of a certain topic.

Work with content area teachers to build lists for topics covered in the classroom. Educators can be purposeful in their selection of instructional materials, finding content that will best support their students. BLUEcloud Course Lists allows educators to use a wide range of materials that can help support student learning, whatever their skill level or learning goals. In addition to accessing BLUEcloud Course Lists through a provided URL, educators can take advantage of using a list to link directly to INFOhio materials. Using INFOhio resources in research and inquiry projects ensures students have equitable access to quality content. The combination of school library resources and digital content from trusted providers like INFOhio will give students access to the information they need to be successful and meet the challenges of a research project.

  1. Collaborate with Staff

Looking for new ways to collaborate with staff in 2024? BLUEcloud Course Lists provides educators with a way to create lists together. Offer teaching staff a BLUEcloud account which will allow them to collaborate in BLUEcloud Course Lists. Once a teacher has an account, help them add the bookmarklet tool to their favorite browser. This will enable them to add instructional materials as they come across them on the web. 

Once resources have been added, the teacher can contact the librarian by messaging them through the BLUEcloud Course Lists Staff Notes feature. Staff Notes is an internal chat feature that allows list creators to discuss resources or the organization of a list. After reviewing the resources, message the educator with the URL of the list. Not only is working on a resource list a great way to find helpful resources for students, but it’s also a great way to build bridges and show how the library helps with curricular needs. Reach out to a fellow teacher and get started collaborating on a curated list of resources today.

Whatever your personal and professional resolutions are for 2024, INFOhio is here to help! If you are interested in giving BLUEcloud Course Lists a try, please contact the INFOhio Provider at your ITC for more details. To learn more, please visit the BLUEcloud Course Lists class found in the BLUEcloud Learning Pathway within INFOhio Campus. Already using BLUEcloud Course Lists? Share your Course Lists with INFOhio on social media by tagging us (@INFOhio) and including #INFOhioWorks in your post. Questions or concerns? Please reach out at support.infohio.org.

About the Author

Posted by: Janah Shumaker

Janah Shumaker is an INFOhio Professional Technical Support Specialist and helps to support ITC Library Support Staff throughout Ohio. One of her roles on the technical team is to assist with the support and implementation of SirsiDynix BLUEcloud products. Before working at INFOhio she was an INFOhio Liaison/Library Services Support provider. Janah is a Google for Education Level 2 Certified Educator and has a Masters in Middle Childhood Education from The Ohio State University. Janah was also a co-winner of the Spence White Service Award in 2020.

Janah Shumaker
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